January 2018 favorites

January 2018

The January stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘The Displaced Person’ by Flannery O’Connor
  2. ‘I Can Say Many Nice Things’ by Ben Marcus
  3. ‘A Temple Of The Holy Ghost’ by Flannery O’Connor
  4. ‘The Barber’ by Flannery O’Connor
  5. ‘Figures In The Distance’ by Jamaica Kincaid
  6. ‘Rollingwood’ by Ben Marcus
  7. ‘Why Do The Heathens Rage?’ by Flannery O’Connor
  8. ‘Keela, The Outcast Indian Maiden’ by Eudora Welty
  9. ‘Wild Plums’ by Grace Stone Coates
  10. ‘The Looking Glass’ by Anton Chekhov
  11. ‘Truant’ by Claude McKay
  12. ‘Enoch And The Gorilla’ by Flannery O’Connor
  13. ‘The Dark Arts’ by Ben Marcus
  14. ‘Mary Elizabeth’ by Jessie Faucet
  15. ‘The South’ by Jorge Luis Borges
  16. ‘Blueprints For St. Louis’ by Ben Marcus
  17. ‘Storytellers, Liars, And Bores’ by Leonard Michaels
  18. ‘First Love’ by Ben Marcus

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

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May 2017 favorites

May 2017

The May stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Axis’ by Alice Munro
  2. ‘Sea Oak’ by George Saunders
  3. ‘Pastoralia’ by George Saunders
  4. ‘Fiction’ by Alice Munro
  5. ‘The Barber’s Unhappiness’ by George Saunders
  6. ‘The Moons Of Jupiter’ by Alice Munro
  7. ‘At Grandmother’s’ by Isaac Babel
  8. ‘Winky’ by George Saunders
  9. ‘The End Of FIRPO In The World’ by George Saunders
  10. ‘Images’ by Alice Munro
  11. ‘City Visit’ by Adam Haslett
  12. ‘The Other Woman’ by Sherwood Anderson
  13. ‘Thanks For The Ride’ by Alice Munro
  14. ‘Girl’ by Jamaica Kincaid
  15. ‘Misery’ by Anton Chekhov
  16. ‘Wingless’ by Jamaica Kincaid
  17. ‘The Letter From Home’ by Jamaica Kincaid
  18. ‘In The Night’ by Jamaica Kincaid
  19. ‘The Drill’ by Breena Clarke
  20. ‘At Last’ by Jamaica Kincaid
  21. ‘Letters From The Samantha‘ by Mark Helprin

As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.

Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.

July 2014 favorites

july2014

July 2014

The July stories ordered solely on my personal tastes.

1.       ‘Hot Ice’ by Stuart Dybek
2.       ‘The Babysitter’ by Robert Coover
3.       ‘Jeeves And The Impending Doom’ by P.G. Wodehouse
4.       ‘A Solo Song: For Doc’ by James Alan McPherson
5.       ‘City Boy’ by Leonard Michaels
6.       ‘You’re Ugly, Too’ by Lorrie Moore
7.       ‘The Flats Road’ by Alice Munro
8.       ‘Greasy Lake’ by T. Coraghessan Boyle
9.       ‘Train’ by Joy Williams
10.     ‘Testimony Of Pilot’ by Barry Hannah
11.     ‘The Joy Luck Club’ by Amy Tan
12.    ‘Liars In Love’ by Richard Yates
13.     ‘How To Date A Brown Girl (Black Girl, White Girl, Or Halfie)’ by Junot Diaz
14.    ‘A Poetics For Bullies’ by Stanley Elkin
15.     ‘Greenwich Time’ by Ann Beattie
16.     ‘Pretty Ice’ by Mary Robison
17.     ‘Lechery’ by Jayne Anne Phillips
18.     ‘Here Come The Maples’ by John Updike
19.     ‘Territory’ by David Leavitt
20.     ‘Bridging’ by Max Apple
21.     ‘The Circling Hand’ by Jamaica Kincaid
22.     ‘Are These Actual Miles?’ by Raymond Carver
23.     ‘The Other Wife’ by Colette
24.     ‘A.V. Laider’ by Max Beerbohm
25.     ‘White Rat’ by Gayl Jones
26.     ‘Search Through The Streets Of The City’ by Irwin Shaw
27.     ‘The Dead Man’ by Horacio Quiroga
28.     ‘A Life In The Day Of A Writer’ by Tess Slesinger
29.     ‘In The Heart Of The Heart Of The Country’ by William Gass
30.     ‘The Indian Uprising’ by Donald Barthelme
31.     ‘The Facts Of Life’ by Somerset Maugham

‘The Circling Hand’ by Jamaica Kincaid

Kincaid, Jamaica 1983

The Circling Hand by Jamaica Kincaid, 1983

The magic trick:

Beautifully describing the changing relationship with ones mother as a girl grows into a teenager

Kincaid does a wonderful job illustrating a girl’s changing relationship with her mother. The narrator begins the story idolizing her mother, and winds up in classic teen-angst mode: sullen, talking back, and shifting her worship onto a classmate.

Kincaid describes vividly the actions and feelings associated with both sides of the transition. She also uses a very memorable scene – involving the titular circling hand – as the breaking point. None of it is new or particularly surprising. But it doesn’t have to be, when the emotions are as real and well-drawn as they are here. And that’s quite a trick on Kincaid’s part.

The selection:

I was about to ask her this when remembered that a few days earlier I had asked in my most pleasing, winning way for a look through the trunk. A person I did not recognize answered in a voice I did not recognize, “Absolutely not! You and I don’t have time for that anymore.” Again, did the ground wash out from under me? Again, the answer would have to be yes, and I wouldn’t be going too far.